Irish economy is seeing signs of recovery and it can be confirmed by increased number of punters.
There are increasing signs that the Irish economy is slowly but surely recovering, and some of these signs actually come from those who try to catch Lady Luck under Irish gambling laws. The general idea is when things are bad financially, people have less free income to spend on gambling, but when the economy is on an upward swing more and more funds is being spent at various gambling destinations.
Irish economy is recovering according to gamblers
• Galway Races served as a barometer for the Irish economy
• Amount of bets under Irish gambling laws is increasing
• Other signs of recovery can be seen everywhere
Galway Races is a seven-day horseracing festival, the biggest in Ireland, allowing a great deal of betting opportunities at land-based and online sportsbooks in Ireland. Back when the Celtic Tiger was booming, the races were filled with punters arriving in helicopters and expensive cars, but after the collapse of the real estate market in Ireland and the international bailout, the number of visitors was steadily diminishing.
Not anymore it seems, investors have returned to Ireland and punters have started to make their way back to the Galway Races. The last meeting saw around 150,000 visitors, which was almost a 10% hike from last year.
The peak of the meeting was in 2006, when 217,000 people have made their way to Galway festival. Although this year’s figures are much lower, the renewed confidence can be seen everywhere. Course manager, John Moloney, comments: “Racing has always been a great barometer for the economy. There was a terrific crowd here last night. The betting was good. There must be more money around.”
One of the visitors, lawyer Joseph O’Hara, scooped a long-shot 20/1 victory and was contemplating ways to spend his $1,300 winnings. He said: “The general feeling is that the worst is over. We’ve endured six years of austerity and it’s been pretty miserable.”
Economy is back on track
The signs of the recovery are everywhere: employment figures are rising, property prices are surging, and Ireland is back on the international credit markets. Naturally, consumer spending including that at online casinos in Ireland is also going up.
An economist at Merrion Stockbrokers in Dublin, Alan McQuaid, had the following comments: “There have been clear signs of stronger personal expenditure. Although there is still a general air of caution among consumers, there seems to be a view that the worst is over following the downturn.”
In July 2014, Irish unemployment figures were at their lowest since April 2009. Retail sales have also rised, but almost 5 percent year on year, primarily driven by rising car purchases. Bank of Ireland has posted their first profit since 2011, last week. Their CEO Richie Boucher told the media that the bank is seeing a recovery in domestic economy.
Gambling profits at Galway
The week of the horseracing festival has generated over EUR 13 million for bookmakers and other gambling operators. Ladbrokes were the biggest winner taking EUR 1.5 million, according to Justin Carthy, the head of racecourse management at Ladbrokes. It’s only a slight increase on last year, but more than double than the amount of best right after the economy collapse.
Justin Carthy shared the following: “When things are going well in Ireland, you can see it on the racecourse. Last year the turnover came back slightly. It’s still a long, long way behind where we were at the crazy times.”
Oyster Bar confirmation
Clayton hotel is the closest to the racecourse. Back in 2011 Rory Fitzpatrick, hotel’s manager, had to cancel the champagne and oyster bar in the wake of disastrous sales in 2010. But now things are picking up again according to the manager: “The real difference in the last couple of years is not that you’re seeing a huge increase in the amount of people traveling to Galway for the races, but they’re willing to pay for the extras. In 2011, there was never any hope of people paying extra paying for the suites. Now they are again.”
A 56-year-old bookmaker, Pat Golden, says he has been coming to the Galway festival ever since he was 12. He said that although business is picking up slightly, punters are not spending as much as they used to in good years. “People are still afraid to spend whatever they have. It’s mostly all small money that’s around now,” said Golden.